Have you ever noticed that the sign for “dogs must be on leash” is an illustration showing a dog in front of the owner with tension on the leash? A woman I met at the Cesar Millan training workshop pointed this out to me and then handed me a stack of stickers with the illustration of a dog with a loose leash walking BEHIND the owner. Brilliant I thought! The idea is to change people’s perspective on how we walk dogs by placing a sticker over each sign you see. This novel idea will take a huge movement and mean a lot of reeducation for owners.
Every day I see people on walks with their dog pulling on a tight leash ahead. When walking like this the dog sees himself as pack leader and this is when problems arise. Not only that, a dog greeting another dog on a tight leash is when you see the most dog fights happen. It is unnatural for dogs to meet face to face, and when a leash has tension and the dog pulls, their body language suggests a challenge to the other dog which then leads to aggression.
How you and your dog walk together says a lot about your relationship.
Each morning while training at the Dog Psychology Center, we started with a pack walk. Cesar Millan’s first rule for a balanced dog is exercise, then discipline and then affection – and he stresses that it must be done in that order. While walking each day I learned that the walk is just as much for you as it is for your dog. It allows you to clear your mind, exert pent up energy and balance yourself and your dog. I have always loved walking with Carmen and she does so well on leash, but I have found a whole new appreciation for it. At the end of our walks it feels as if I spent an hour in a yoga class or getting a massage, I am that relaxed. If only we could all experience this. Unfortunately not all dog lovers enjoy walks the way I do, even more unfortunate, some people don’t walk their dogs everyday or even at all.
I believe that how you and your dog walk together says a lot about your relationship. If your dog charges ahead, then you are not in control enough to be the leader. If your dog drags behind or refuses to walk, again your energy is off in order to lead the pack. If you think about it our dogs are here to show us how simple life can truly be in this regard. We are too hung up on rushing things, doing everything quickly, multitasking, and not enjoying the little gifts this world has to offer. Next time your on a walk take a deep breath, relax your shoulders, and go slow. Make sure your dog is beside or behind you with no tension on the leash. You and your dog will enjoy the walk way more.